Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Northern California wildlife preserve protects giraffes, zebras, antelope

Point Arena wildlife park provides venue for saving endangered African species

Giraffes enjoy lunch at the B Bryan Preserve, a haven for endangered African animals near Point Arena, California 
Cookie feeds the giraffes, a thrill!

Frank greets a beloved giraffe.
THOUSANDS of miles from Africa, an animal-cherishing northern California couple is doing its best to preserve endangered critters continents away.
In a climate and terrain similar to the creatures' native habitat, B Bryan Preserve is a haven for animals that are likely on their literal last legs in Africa.
It takes a tall barn to provide comfortable lodging for giraffes.
The enterprise's founding couple is committed to the breeding and conservation of African hoof stock. Frank Mello and his wife, Judy, are lifelong wildlife enthusiasts from opposite corners of the United States. Frank, a Northern California native, met Judy in the corporate world in her native Mississippi.
Frank knows every animal by name on the B Bryan Preserve.
WHILE JUDY was tending to the cottages the couple rents to boost income for the wildlife endeavor, we toured the place with Frank as our guide.  He began with this melancholy greeting:  "If you haven't been to Africa, I urge you to go.  Some of the animals you see today will not exist there for much longer."
Zebras contribute their exotic look to northern California's Point Arena.
JUDY HAS traveled to several parts of Africa, experiencing the beauty with increasing concern. In my own trips, I've been made painfully aware of the diminishing numbers of giraffes, zebras, elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers and more.  Alarm at the continent's continuing devastation of wildlife is the couple's motivation.  Frank's love of the creatures of Africa stems from his deep affection for wildlife and love of beauty along the California coast. He conveys his concern about diminishing numbers on several disturbing charts which he shares before the tour, as guests gather in a large storage barn.
FRANK prepares eager tourists for what they will see -- a working farm where several species are loved and protected.  The couple raise, breed and study various kinds of antelope -- roan, sable and greater kudu antelope as well as Grevy’s and Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra and the Rothschild’s Giraffe.
Visitors can get up close and personal
B Bryan Preserve charts the decline
of several endangered African species.
THE TWO-HOUR tour is available morning and dusk and  includes feeding time, with tourist participation.  It's a  fascinating and up-close look at the critters, as five or six wildlife lovers explore the 100-acre complex in the back of a land rover, exiting the van at various stops to view the critters close-up.  Frank provides gruff but enlightening commentary, taking  visitors through the history of the endeavor and engendering an understanding of the importance of
A walk into the gardens of B Bryan Preserve leads to an enlightening time.
wildlife conservation.
Frank's northern California roots called in 2004 and the couple purchased a 100 acre ranch, moving 11 animals to Point Arena in verdant Mendocino County. A few are from San Diego's famous wildlife park. Since then, they've added endangered Grevy’s and Hartmann’s Mountain zebra, plus Rothschild’s Giraffe to the welcoming acres of their preserve.
THE COUPLE is devout in their preaching:  wildlife habitats around the world continue to decline. Many species are on the verge of extinction, forced from their native habitat by over population and poaching. Degradation of grazing land,  the swelling population of humans and hunger leading to poaching are the enemies of
Visitors from around the world enjoy San Simeon, a site to behold
on California's central coast. Coming soon at www.whereiscookie.com
these beautiful creatures. "Add to that massive political and social unrest, the presence of AK 47s in the hands of rebels and the animal world is in crisis," Frank said.

A newspaper tycoon with more money than he could possibly spend built a monument to himself, his publishing empire, and the world's great art.  William Randolph Hearst's San Simeon is our next stop.  We travel with a sense of adventure and an eye out for fun and the offbeat.  Join us Wednesdays and weekends, and remember to explore, learn and live, at www.whereiscookie.com 

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